When people think of French pâtisserie, they generally think sweet. But buttery, flaky pastries are just as much a savory tradition, and none is as thoroughly entrenched in the rhythms of French daily life as the elegant quiche.
Although the quiche has gone international, the French are the ones who perfected it. Make it once, and it’s easy to master, becoming something you can throw together with ingredients you probably already have in the fridge (or at least you do if you’re French): butter, cream, and eggs.
This combination of sweet potato and bacon takes quichedom to a whole new dimension. The sweet potato, roasted and caramelized before it meets the crust, turns into burnished velvet as it nearly melts into the custard. Brawny nuggets of bacon and salty strands of Gruyère and cheddar provide the savory notes, while lemon zest adds necessary freshness.
Use this recipe as a template for your own combinations; you’ll need 3 cups of any cooked vegetables and other tidbits (olives, herbs, capers, meats) to replace the sweet potatoes and bacon.
You’ll need a 10-inch tart pan. Or you can use a 9-inch tart pan and add a few minutes to the baking time.
For the Crust
- 2 cups (260 grams) All-purpose flour, plus more as needed
- ¾ tsp Fine sea salt
- ¼ tsp Sugar
- 1 cup (2 sticks / 225 grams) Unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch cubes, plus more at room temperature for greasing
- Scant ½ cup ice water
For The Filling
- 1 pound Sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into ½-inch cubes (about 3½ cups)
- 2 oz Bacon (2 slices), diced into ½-inch cubes
- 1 Tbsp Extra-virgin olive oil
- 1¼ tsp Fine sea salt, divided
- 3 Large eggs
- 1 cup Heavy cream
- ¾ tsp Finely grated lemon zest
- ⅛ tsp Freshly ground black pepper
- ⅛ tsp Freshly grated nutmeg
- ¾ cup Chopped fresh parsley leaves
- ½ cup (2 oz) Grated cheddar cheese
- ¼ cup (1 oz) Grated Parmesan cheese
In a food processor: Pulse the flour, salt, and sugar to combine. Add the cubed butter and pulse until the mixture has formed lima bean–size pieces. Drizzle in the water and pulse just to combine, taking care not overprocess the dough.
By hand: In a large bowl, mix together the flour, salt, and sugar. Add the cubed butter and mix it in with your hands, pinching and squeezing the butter cubes with your fingers (or using a pastry blender) until the largest pieces are the size of lima beans. Drizzle in the water a little at a time, mixing until the dough starts to come together.
With either method, you may not need all the water, or you may need to add more water if the dough doesn’t come together.
Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and press it together into a ball. You should see bits of butter in the dough; those will bake up into delectable flakes. Flatten the dough to form a disk, wrap it in plastic wrap, and chill it for 1 hour or as long as 2 days.
Butter a 10-inch tart pan with removable bottom and place it on a rimmed baking sheet. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to form a 12-inch round, rolling from the center toward the edges and trimming the edges as needed. Drape the dough over the tart pan and press it onto the bottom and up the sides, folding the excess down to bulk up the thickness of the sides of the tart shell. Then use your fingers to push the dough ¼ inch up past the rim. Use a fork to poke evenly spaced holes in the bottom and sides of the dough. Chill the tart shell for 30 minutes or up to 24 hours, uncovered.
Arrange the racks in the top and lower thirds of the oven, then heat the oven to 425°F.
Butter a piece of foil or spray it with nonstick cooking spray. Line the chilled dough with the buttered foil, butter-side down, and fill the foil with pie weights. Place the rimmed baking sheet on the upper rack in the oven, and bake for 15 minutes. Then remove the baking sheet from the oven, carefully lift the foil and pie weights off the tart shell, and return the baking sheet to the oven. Continue baking until the tart shell is barely turning golden on the edges, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let it cool slightly.
While the tart shell is baking, make the filling: On a rimmed baking sheet, toss together the sweet potatoes, bacon, oil, and ¼ teaspoon of the salt. Place the baking sheet on the lower rack in the oven along with the tart shell and roast until the potatoes and bacon are golden brown, about 20 minutes, stirring halfway through. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and let the mixture cool. (The tart shell and the potatoes will come out of the oven at about the same time.) Reduce the oven temperature to 375°F.
In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, cream, lemon zest, remaining 1 teaspoon salt, the pepper, and nutmeg. Fold in the parsley.
Scatter the roasted potato-bacon mixture and the grated cheddar into the tart shell. Scrape the egg mixture into the shell, smoothing the top, and then sprinkle the Parmesan on top. Bake on the lower oven rack until the tart is puffed and browned, 30 to 35 minutes. Let the tart cool slightly, then remove the ring from the tart pan and slide the quiche from the tart pan bottom onto a wire rack. Serve it warm or at room temperature.
Dough: You can make the dough and chill it in the refrigerator up to 2 days in advance. Flatten it into a disk and wrap it in plastic wrap before chilling.
Pastry shell: You can bake the pastry shell up to 1 day in advance and store it, uncovered, at room temperature. You can also store the unbaked shell, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 1 day.
Sweet potatoes and bacon: You can roast the potatoes and bacon up to 1 day in advance, then store the mixture in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Quiche: You can make the quiche and store it at room temperature for up to 8 hours in advance of serving.
Reprinted from Dinner in French. Copyright © 2020 by Melissa Clark. Photographs copyright © 2020 by Laura Edwards. Published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Penguin Random House, LLC.